The Brazil international has dismissed suggestions he moved to Russia purely for financial reasons and claims his decision was based on a desire for a fresh start
The Brazil international moved to Russia for a reported €35 million fee and signed a contract until 2017 with Guus Hiddink's side, and although many believes the switch was financially motivated, he insists that was not the case.
"I've earned quite a lot of money in Donetsk," the 24-year-old told Sport Express.
"With Shakhtar I also won a set of titles not only in Ukraine but in Europe also. I felt comfortable there. But the time for change has come."
The former Corinthians winger also revealed that conversations with the club's owners over their long-term ambitions helped to sway his decision.
"My conversation with Anzhi owner Suleiman Kerimov decided everything," Willian said.
"After that I decided to join Anzhi. The club management are not only thinking about short-term gains, they really want to create a serious football infrastructure in Dagestan, to lift the game in the republic to a higher level."
Willian appeared 140 times for his former club Shakhtar, scoring 20 goals in total.